"We want people to be able to use those (Frequent Flyer) miles not to fly for free but to control your experience." - Glen Hauenstein, Delta Airlines President (March 2016)
American Airlines is credited with the development of the first loyalty program in 1981. "What distinguished the airline program, and made them the most successful marketing program ever, was a winning combination of the psychological and the financial - the lure of travel (quintessentially aspirational) and the return-on-investment value of the awards (because they awarded unsold seats, the real cost to the airline was miniscule)."
Retailers were not far behind in adapting loyalty programs to increase brand value.
Thirty five years later, it's interesting to contrast the evolution and current state of loyalty programs in both the airline and retail industries.
Have been debating for some time the top 3 retail technology inventions of all time. From history, a few of the candidates considered:
Shopping Mall - The first shopping mall was built in Milan between 1865 and 1877. The Galleria is named after the first King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II.
Coupons - In 1888, Coca-Cola created the first coupon that could be redeemed for their new beverage.
Loyalty Card - American Airlines is credited with the development of the first loyalty program in 1981.
CCTV - Germany used CCTV systems in the development of V-2 rockets to monitor launches during World War II.
Credit Card - John Biggins, a New York Banker, introduced the "Charge-It" card in 1946.
A favorite annual report is AT Kearney's Global Retail Development Index (GDRI). The 15th annual edition is titled 'Global Retail Expansion at a Crossroads'.
Last week, I had the pleasure to attend a two-day Executive technology briefing at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond. A highlight was the retail technology tour where the latest technologies were integrated into a mock multi-store mall. In each of the store formats, lots of digital sensor solutions were feeding a growing computing cloud.
Concurrently to my visit to Microsoft, Pokemon Go continued its meteoric rise in becoming one of the most successful mobile games of all time. As of Monday, July 11th, Pokemon Go was seeing about 21 million daily active users, making it the biggest mobile game in USA history.
Just as impressive is the amount of time that each individual is playing with the app. The average iPhone user spent 33 minutes on the Pokemon Go app, "whereas only 28 minutes on the Facebook app, 18 minutes on Snapchat app, 17 minutes in the Twitter app, and 15 minutes in the Instagram app."
The 2016 USA National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) is jointly conducted by the Dr. Richard Hollinger of the University of Florida and the National Retail Federation (NRF). This year's survey had responses from 80 retailers.
In 2015, the average overall shrink rate was 1.38% of sales which cost the USA retail economy $45.2 billion. For the grocery sector, retail shrink increased from 3.2% to 3.6%. Specialty men's and women's apparel shrink was at 1.2%. Discount, mass merchandise, or super center retailers shrink was at 1.1%.
As the internet is the primary foundation for industry disruption, every year I look forward to Mary Meeker's latest trends report.
The internet global population is now at 3 billion. Overall growth is flat at 9% year on year. Excluding India, global internet growth was only 7%. This contrasts to 2009 when the internet was growing at over 15% per year.
India now has 277 million people on the internet, growing at 40% in the last reported year. In 2015, India passed USA to become the number two global user market behind China.
"A business based on brand is, very simply, a business primed for success" - David F. D'Alessandro
Top countries: USA (52 brands), Germany (11), Japan (8), France (6), Switzerland (4).
Top Industries: Technology (17), Financial Services (13), Automobile (12), Consumer Package Goods (10), Luxury (8), Retail (8).
Biggest Gainers: Facebook (44%), Netflix (31%), Google (26%), Amazon (25%), Citi (19%).
Biggest Losers: IBM (-17%), Coach (-13%), Caterpillar (-11%), Siemens (-8%)
"Customers attach value to a product in proportion to its perceived ability to help solve their problems or meet their needs. All else is derivative...There is no such thing as a commodity. All goods and services are differentiable. Though the usual presumption is that this is more true of consumer goods than of industrial goods and services, the opposite is the actual case." - Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business School
The future of retail requires:Immersive interactive customer experiences across all channels, both virtual and in the store. Store associates as passionate brand ambassadors that engage a mobile educated shopping consumer.
Back to retail basics, this means that store employees need to spend the majority of their time on the actual sales floor interacting with consumers. All tasks that detract from the actual retail selling process need to be either totally eliminated or highly minimized.
Recently, I had the pleasure of introducing a new Tyco evolutionary technology solution branded "Source Tagging as a Service" (STaaS). On multiple levels, this new innovative service delivers a secure and profitable future of retail.
In March, I had the pleasure of speaking at an Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS) industry conference in Amsterdam. My topics included a retail industry update, the future destiny of the department store, and the sector's RFID adoption trends.
A November 2015 article proclaimed "The long, painful death of the American department store."Are department stores stuck in the middle trying to serve all consumer segments? Are the stores too big and missing the industry trend of stores getting smaller? Is retail sales growth possible for department stores? How can department stores evolve and thrive in the future of retail?
Key Insights from the 2016 Global Powers of Retailing
Every January, Deloitte publishes an updated view of the Top 250 largest global retailers. Following is a synopsis of my favorite content from the 2016 19th edition.